[Alpha] How to attach both NVMe and Graphics card

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Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2019 7:26 am

Fri Jan 11, 2019 7:34 am

Hi guys,

I would like to use both SSD with NVMe (M.2-2280) and a graphics card like Geforce GTX 1050Ti.
Is it possible?
Please help me find a adapter/or how to setup that fit with this requirement.


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Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:16 pm

Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:10 am

It's going to be very ugly and some compromises no matter what.
(Actually, easiest is to get a regular small form factor PC :)
LP Alpha has Key-M for up to 4 lane PCIe, and key-E for 2-lane PCIe.

A common NVMe uses 4 lanes of PCIe, some can just use 2.
Graphics card uses 16 lanes, but can get by (and test your patient) with 4, 2, and even 1 lane.

Not too much a problem to extract 1 lane PCIe from key-E slot. No one made 2-lane PCIe bus adapter card.

There is a flavor of external PCIe bus mux adapter card which makes one slot into two, three, or four.
Mux cards are full of compromises.

All sorts of compromises. Which one you are willing to take?

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Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:53 am

Sun Jan 20, 2019 8:21 pm

for the ssd take a 6gbs (x2) and connect in m.2 E with this https://www.ebay.fr/itm/Riser-prolongat ... 0005.m1851
And for the gpu (with external psu) https://egpu.io/external-gpu-buyers-gui ... -interface

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Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:15 pm

@ djawho
On your first link, are you sure that key-A+E to key-M adapter has both PCIe's data bus brought out?
On many of these adapters, I've only seen x1 version coming out, never the x2 version.

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Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:27 pm

I think the link djawho provided might be right that can bring both 2 lanes PCIe bus signals out.
Will have to ask the vendor to find out.

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Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:08 pm

Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:58 pm

Hi, sorry to barch in with my own questions.
I've been discussing this on this thread: https://egpu.io/forums/expresscard-mpci ... alpha-sbc/

I'm not really interested in raw performance. The M3 cpu can only go so far. So I'm planning to use the E-key (all adapters I've seen are 1x, though 2x would be awesome) with a low end card, so that impact would be minimal (I've explored results shown at egpu.io, check the thread).

E-key adapters aren't too common nor cheap. And the ones that seem most reliable are those soldered. Does anyone have any confirmacion of this working? I've only seen tests using the M-key slot.

I also intend to connect a few SATA3 ssd. Seeing that the board doesn't have a built-in SATA port, I was wondering if it was possible to maybe connect a SATA hub to the M-key (4x should be enough bandwidth for a few SSDs). Has anyone seen a setup like that?

I'm willing to give up on the NVME M-key ssd if this was possible.
Thanks for any help/info.

edit: this is what I mean by "SATA hub" on a M2 port. Hopefully there's one for M2 port. This one would require a M-key to mPCI-e adapter, right?

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Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:59 pm

The M.2 key-M (max 4-lane PCIe) and key-B (max. 2-lane PCIe) are separate buses so max possibility of 4x and 2x M.2 cards.
The current issue is no such 2-lane key-E (to something) adapter exists. "djawho"'s suggestion was very good.
I have never seen that flavor before (and since its PFC is wider such that I felt high hope, until...)
thus I asked the seller. He told me there is no 2nd PCIe lane on key A/E thus not in his adapter.
I exchanged several with him showing the full pinout as well as more literature about there indeed is a second PCIe lane (on 59&61 and 65&67 pins.) That's the end of conversation. I can burn $23 to test it out but what for (even the seller said no.)

Can key-E slot bring a one-lane PCIe out? The answer is yes (several ways but all kind of ugly, if consider how you'll going to power the external PCIe board.)

Re: SATA expander (multiplexer to expand 1 SATA into few such as 5 SATA ports)
There are few solutions, including a straight M.2 flavor (key-B/M if memory serves, but costs more) and several more ugly ones.

So many ways to skin the cat, all depends on what you need and how much willing to pay.

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Thu Jan 24, 2019 1:32 pm

Re: the third post, first link....

I was have high hopes it might have the second PCIe lane on its adapter, since the interconnect cable is unusually wide.

After several conversation with the vendor, with picture taken per my request, I can now say 100% the adapter,
as it is, does not have the second PCIe lane.

That does not preclude in the future someone, including that vendor/manufacturer or LattePanda itself will produce a suitable adapter for our beloved Panda Alpha.

I am still trying to provide the "encouragement" to that vendor to "upgrade" its product features. Somehow I think a direct communication between LattePanda and that vendor/mfg might be more helpful.

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Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:28 am

One Stop Systems has probably what you're looking for... but I think it will cost way to much for Lattepanda experiment projects.

( https://www.onestopsystems.com )
Just look at this project from "Linus Tech Tips" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDSWO19jcTg&t=955s

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Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:01 am

Using PCIe switch/mux IMO is the last resort. I.e., many bandwidth consumers will have to share (the YT video is a good example of that.)
We pay large sum of money for CORE-M (as opposite to cheapo ATOM) thus there can be few PCIe bus lanes exposed (key-M has 4 and key-E has additional 2.)
Unfortunately until someone make an adapter to extract PCIe x2 bus out, we are currently limited to just get one lane PCIe out.

P.S. key A/E is the first gen M.2 thus the popularity is fading...

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